Shole zard is a delicious old-fashioned dessert that is very delicate in taste, light in texture, but so deeply aromatic that it is hard to stop eating it. Its vibrant golden-yellow color comes from the use of saffron — what gives the dish its name (zard refers to the color yellow in Farsi). It can be enjoyed both warm (at room temperature) and cold. Experience it yourself.

Difficulty level 6 (out of 10)
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 1 hours 30 minutes
Chill time 1 to 2 hours
Servings 4
  • 1 cup (sweet) rice
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • ¼ cup rose water
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground saffron
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chopped almond sticks, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, optional
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Chopped almond sticks
  • Chopped pistachio sticks
  • Dried rose petals
  1. Rinse the rice in a bowl and drain the water. Repeat this step at least a couple of times under cold water until the water runs clean. This will help you get rid of the excess starch.
  2. Pour the cups of water into a sauce or cooking pan and bring it to boil. Then add the rinsed rice to the boiling water and let it simmer over medium heat until the rice becomes mushy — without covering the pan. This takes about 75 minutes.
    While the rice is cooking, keep an eye on the pan and stir it frequently.
  3. Add the granulated sugar, rose water, butter, ground saffron, ground cinnamon, chopped almond sticks (optional) and ground cardamom (optional).
    Give it a nice stir, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom or the sides of the pan.
    Turn the heat off and remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Pour the pudding into several small bowls and let it come to room temperature. Then refrigerate the bowls for about 1 or 2 hours until completely chilled.
    Before serving (which can be cold or at room temperature) garnish the bowl(s) with ground cinnamon, chopped almond and pistachio sticks, and dried rose petals.

    Enjoy the dish, or as the Persians say: Nooshe jân.